Who am I? Part 4 by David Volick

On part 3, I described two ways of defeating a fear: LIVE IN THE NOW and GO FOR WHATEVER YOU ARE AFRAID OF DOING.

The last way is the clearest and possibly the easiest. For instance, you fear accepting a new position with a new company in a new city, even though this position is something that you really want to do – JUST DO IT!

The first way is much more difficult. Go ahead, try and live entirely in the now for a whole day – see what I mean. So, how do you learn to live in the now? What does it feel like? Are you not suppose to plan ahead, anticipate possible problems that might arise, and find solutions before they do arise; would that be “not living in the now”?

Living in the now, to me, entails experiencing whatever is happening now to its fullest; not hanging onto negative emotions from the past and not worrying and obsessing about something that might happen in the future.

Small children when playing represent a great example of what I mean by “living in the now”. Have you ever watched small children play? They are so concentrated on what they’re doing that they rarely are aware of any stimuli outside of their focus — they are emotionally and cognitively into whatever it is they are doing; experiencing it to the fullest.

Small children do not focus in the past. A child can have a fight with another child and professes to hate that child and to never want to play with him again. However, the next day you can see the two playing and having a great time, yesterday completely forgotten.

So, let’s define “living in the now” as fully experiencing, with all you senses and focus, what is happening with you at the moment, regardless if this experience is brand new or something that occurs every day. It is experiencing your immediate surroundings with all your being. This does not preclude remembering pleasant events and people from you past or considering all aspects of some difficult situation that will happen in the near future in order to make certain all will go well. What is does preclude is not dwelling with most of your awareness on either the past or future such that you miss the moment that will never occur again.

Okay, how does one develop this ability of being in the now? One method of practising to be in the now is to emulate small children (as I mentioned above they seem to mostly be in the now). So, regardless of where I am or what I am doing, I attempt to enjoy myself to my fullest. For example, if I am driving my car and find myself in a traffic jam and not moving, instead of becoming frustrated and angry, I watch the scene around me. I will observe other drivers, trees, birds, buildings, etc. While doing this, I focus on developing a “total experience”, without being distracted by negative aspects of the situation. For example, I will try to appreciate the beauty of the trees. Doing this helps me to avoid being sucked into the negative and impatient emotions that many other drivers around me experience. We all are going to move slowly until the traffic jam eases, so why not bask in pleasant, positive feelings instead of the opposite.

In my next article I will continue discussing ways of living in the moment.